Thursday, January 2, 2014
All-NFC North: Green Bay Packers
By Rob Demovsky
» NFC Teams: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
In any other year, it’s hard to imagine the Green Bay Packers having only one offensive player on the All-NFC North team.
But when Aaron Rodgers misses nearly half the season with a broken collarbone, and the Packers use three different backup quarterbacks behind him, it’s safe to say this isn’t like any other season.
One constant, however, was guard Josh Sitton. A Pro Bowl selection at right guard last season, Sitton made the switch to left guard in the offseason and has performed just as well, if not better, despite not getting voted back into the Pro Bowl.
An argument could have been made for running back Eddie Lacy, who became the Packers’ first rookie since 1971 to rush for 1,000 yards. He wasn’t going to edge Adrian Peterson, but it should have been a close call between him and Matt Forte for the other running back spot. (Sorry, John Kuhn, there’s no place for a fullback on the all-division team these days.)
On the defensive side of the ball, Clay Matthews remained one of the division’s biggest impact players despite missing five games because of a broken thumb. But the biggest surprise was the development of second-year defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who was the Packers’ best interior pass-rusher. Cornerback Sam Shields' emergence as the team’s top cover cornerback will earn him a big paycheck in free agency, whether it’s from the Packers or another team.
No one kicks in more difficult conditions than the Packers’ specialists, which makes their selections even more impressive. Few are better at pinning teams inside the 20 than punter Tim Masthay, and kicker Mason Crosby put the demons of his dismal 2012 season behind him and had a career year.